Helen Webby

Helen Webby is a well-known harp player based in Christchurch.

Born in Whangarei, Helen Webby first heard the harp when she was 10 and was immediately desperate to learn it. Harps were not available to buy, so her mother found a plan for a Celtic Harp at the local library and her brother (now a well known concert harp-maker) built it for her.

At 12 she began to study the instrument with Auckland teacher Dorothea Franci. After completing a Bachelor of Music in Harp from Auckland University in 1989, she went on to spend 10 years in Europe studying in The Netherlands and Germany. She completed her Masters degree in Harp and Music Teaching at the Hochschule for Music in Hamburg in 1996. Whilst in Europe she recorded her first CD with the German chamber group Ensemble Obligat and played chamber music professionally.

Helen joined the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra in 2000 as their principal harpist. Since that time she has also appeared with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and performed in both solo and chamber recitals. She has developed a reputation as a musician of talent and high standards as well as wide popular appeal. Her work with the Giverny Trio has also received highly complimentary reviews.

She has an interest in Celtic harp music and performs with Scottish guitarist Davy Stuart, with whom she has recorded two CDs Peacocks Dance and The Golden Strand. Helen and Davy have toured New Zealand with Chamber Music NZ. She has been a prize winner at the O’Carolan Harp Festival in Ireland. In 2004 and 2011 she was a featured guest at the National Folk Festival in Canberra.

In 2012 Helen commissioned 10 New Zealand composers to write short works and she premiered them at the Otago Festival of the Arts. The were recorded on the CD Pluck.

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